Family members trying to prove innocence of man sentenced to 30 years
SALISBURY, Md. – Four years ago, a Wicomico County man was sentenced to 30 years in prison for a sex crime involving a child. Now, some members of his family are trying to prove his innocence.
“He’s not a criminal, he’s not a pedophile, he would not so much as harm the hair on a child,” says Alonza’s brother, Marcus Briddell. M. Briddell claims his brother is innocent, and he and Alonza’s wife Lola say Alonza didn’t receive a fair trial when he was convicted of inappropriately touching a six-year-old girl who he was often taking care of.
However, according to Wicomico County States Attorney, Jamie Dykes, there was a thorough investigation involving social workers and law enforcement. “Child abuse investigations are difficult because many times we have a victims statement and that is largely what has to be judged,” says Dykes.
Dykes says the jury used a combination of testimonies, statements, and recorded interviews with the child to come to a decision. “There were interestingly some inconsistencies between Mrs. Briddell’s statement or testimony and Mr. Briddell’s statement that he gave to law enforcement,” says Dykes.
No forensic evidence was found in this case, and The Briddells believe someone could have forced the child to lie. “What did they have to put in front of her to make her say this,” says Mrs. Briddell.
However, Dykes says unless new evidence comes to light, Mr. Briddell is on the verge of exhausting all efforts to appeal his conviction. “I have great confidence and I think the community should have great confidence in the conviction and the justice that Mr. Briddell received,” says Dykes.
The conviction isn’t stopping Lola and Marcus from exhausting all efforts to prove Mr. Briddell’s innocence and set him free. “We’re waiting on what we need to do to show that this person that they have behind those bars ain’t the person they said,” says Mrs. Briddell.
Dykes also tells 47 ABC, with sexual abuse cases like this one, finding any forensic evidence is rare. However, she says a six-year-old’s testimony in court is more likely to be true than not.
Mr. Briddell was sentenced to 30 years in prison and he must serve at least half of his sentence before he is eligible for parole.